Local Community Activist Speaks Out Against Immigration

Misty Brown | 4/29/2009, 11:20 a.m.

Luci Murphy talks the talk and walks the walk. The D.C. native has a longstanding history of community activism, especially working with children at risk. She has visited Lebanon to observe Palestinian Refugee Camps, China just before the normalization of relations with the United States, Brazil for a grassroots organizing conference, and Cuba to oppose U.S. travel restrictions.

She will perform at Voces de Colores, an annual fundraising concert, on Sat. May 2 at First Trinity Lutheran Church in Northwest at 8p.m. The proceeds will be shared with Mexicanos Sin Fronteras, a network of community based organizations that struggle for immigrant rights, dignity and social justice. Parking for the fund-raising is available across from the main church.

Murphy explains that her musical gifts are a medium to spread the message.

€I am a vocalist who often leads group singing, since my childhood in the 1950s.€
She sings in English, Spanish, French, Creole, Portuguese, Zulu, Arabic, Hebrew, Cherokee, and ki-Swahili.
€I draw on the folkloric traditions and musical idioms of all these cultures [and] my own roots in spirituals, blues and jazz,€ she said.

She is the contact person for the Community Coalition for Peace and Justice, D.C., an organization that strives to promote peace and equality in the face of violence and injustice.

WI: Who is the D.C. Labor Chorus?
The D.C. Labor Chorus is a musical ensemble representing union members from the Washington, D.C., area. Some of us are professional musicians but most of us are union members and activists who just love to sing. We sing for rallies, demonstrations, and picket lines.

WI: What is the focus of this concert?
The focus is to build solidarity between documented and undocumented workers. We prefer these names instead of calling them "illegal aliens" because no human being is illegal.

WI: How will this concert benefit the community?
Building unity benefits the community. As long as we fight each other, both documented and undocumented workers will lose the campaign for worker's rights. The big employers who play us against one another will reap larger profits at our expense. Also, the economy will collapse because not enough people get paid well enough to keep the economy going.

WI: Do you feel there has been any progress with regards to immigration practices?
Immigrants come from many places. The media has decided to focus on Spanish speaking immigrants, but immigration is deporting West Indians, Africans, and others who are rarely shown on TV.

WI: Is the Barack Obama administration establishing a New World order from the previous administration policies?
The appointment of a woman who is "labor union-friendly" and Mexican American, Hilda Solis to be Secretary of Labor, is a favorable sign. It is a radical departure from the anti-labor right winger who previously held the position under [former president George W.] Bush.